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Interview Etiquette and LinkedIn: To Connect or Not to Connect?

By Tamara Sigerhall

The question of when to send your interviewer a connection request on LinkedIn is a delicate one, which I have been asked many times. Send the invitation too soon and you risk appearing too forward (or even desperate). But play your cards right and it could boost your chances of landing the right job.

Rule #1: Don’t send your interviewer a LinkedIn invitation BEFORE your interview

I would highly discourage any candidate from sending a connection request to an interviewer they have not yet met. It is absolutely acceptable to check out your interviewer on social media platforms such as LinkedIn before your interview. After all, they will be doing the same to gain a sense of whom they will be meeting. If you don’t want your interviewer to feel like you are “stalking” them, set your profile to appear as “anonymous” in your privacy settings.

Rule #2: Better safe than sorry

Sadly, there is no “perfect moment” to send your invitation to help you clinch the role you were interviewing for. If anything, sending an invitation before the end of the interview process can do your application more harm than good. Unless your interviewer has actually suggested connecting on LinkedIn, err on the side of caution and wait until the end of the process.

Rule #3: Your LinkedIn invitation is a personal branding opportunity – don’t waste it!

Whenever you do decide to send your LinkedIn invitation (and your best bet is to do so at the end of the application process), make sure you personalise the message that is sent with it.

I would suggest using the invitation as a short and personalised thank-you note. Even if you don’t end up securing the role, sending a message by way of a LinkedIn invitation is a graceful way of saying “thank-you and let’s keep in touch”. If nothing else, you have expanded your professional network and left a positive, professional impression with your interviewer. It could make all the difference between being forgotten and being referred for a different role!

What are your experiences with LinkedIn invitations? How would you respond if a candidate sent you an invitation to connect? At what point do you think it’s appropriate to do so?

Tamara Sigerhall is a Senior Consultant at Elliott Scott HR, a specialist HR recruitment company. She brings with her over ten years of industry experience across financial and professional services, including several years in search gained across Asia and Australia. Her relationship-based, consultative approach is the foundation of her recruitment philosophy.

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